The Dark Calling by Kresley Cole
Published by Valkyrie Press on February 13, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
“One love fated. One love endless.”
After years and years and years and years of waiting, The Dark Calling finally landed in my hands.
Ok, that may have been a little dramatic, but it has been a long time. It blows my mind I’ve been reading this series since 2013 and I still love it now as much as I did then.
The Dark Calling was everything I wanted from it. Infinitely better than Arcana Rising, Calling kept me on the edge of my seat and even though it clocks in at 340 pages, I managed to read it in 2 days.
So deep in the series, it’s hard to keep reviews spoiler-free but for those of you waiting to pick up Calling: go do it now.
I give it 5/5 stars (infinity if I could)
Anyway, the rest is spoilery goodness delving into my every emotion about this book and I hope you’ve read so we can go through this together. If you haven’t, pick it up and then come gush with me.
You have been warned.
After Arcana’s unexpected ending, it was hard to tell what to expect from Calling. I always imagined the series developing into Evie going full Red Witch (I still do.), but the pregnancy twist…complicates everything. And truth be told, it continues to be one of my least favorite developments in the series (that alone could be it’s own rant, but I will let it rest for now). Regardless, after finishing the book I think I see how it plays into the conclusion of the series but what still remains is only one can win.
I used to think the baby was the Hanged Man and means to end the game and I used to want the game to end, but now I want Evie to win for a multitude of reasons. I think she needs to win to help bring the earth back and I keep imagining an ending to this series that I think will be hella cool. (Imagine Evie wins and she gets with Jack and she lives out his life with him and she waits for the next game and that’s where the book ends, as she waits for the next disaster to start the game. Of course this is all dependent on what the Minors and Gods want to do with Evie in the next book.)
When Evie finds out she is pregnant, she is vengeful and I love it. Again, I really want Evie to give herself over to her evil side. Evie has her sights on killing Paul and oh my god do I wish she had just killed him when she had the chance. Aric and Lark are constantly there telling her not to act rash and kill Paul. Only Finn is telling her she should do what she thinks is right. Even if it means he can’t fix his leg. God, my heart hurts.
Finn did not deserve the end he got and I am so upset and heartbroken that the Hanged Man was the one to take him down. Tears are gathering as I write this. The signs were all there and I WISH I had caught on that Paul is the Hanged Man. In fact, my focus was so centered on thinking it was the baby that I was blindsided. Calling hit the ground running with the biggest plot twists and I was shaking. Seriously, for a good portion of my first sitting I was physically shaking while reading. THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD.
I felt like Finn’s death wasn’t felt as much as it should’ve been and it makes me sad, but immediately after, Death was on the hunt to kill Evie. I thought she really was going to be prisoner for a minute when each one of her rescuers and allies kept turning against her because of The Hanged Man’s bubble of brainwashing.
After Evie got out of the way and allied up with Joules and Kentarch (poor dude. I feel for him and hope he’s doing ok), I thought there would be no hope for Aric. I truly thought the dude was going to be gone forever. Then I also thought Evie was going to bite it but then a light shone down from the heaven’s and Jackson Deveaux showed his beautiful face. I could’ve cried even though him physically reappearing brought a new onslaught of problems, or really old problems. He was the saving grace Evie needed and he got her back to safety.
I was surprised the Richter wasn’t in the book more because I thought that he would be the main enemy, but the Hanged Man also wasn’t in the picture. I am concerned now that with Paul gone, it’s going to be hard to kill Richter and Zara. The two together are essentially unbeatable. Their only hope is Sol on the inside which means depending on the hope that Sol truly is on their side and isn’t just helping save Evie’s skin because they connected on a certain level during their time together. There are still so many things to be resolved so either #6 is going to move fast or it’s going to be a monster of a book. (Possibly both?)
When the quad finally made it to Jubilee, I can’t believe I didn’t see it for what it was. Led by Minors. I had spent so much time realizing that Jack could very well be a Minor since he wanted to rebuild humanity (and low key get the game moving, after all he wants Evie to choose him over Aric) and then I missed a literal giant settlement to help rebuild society and I still missed all the cues. I also hoped Circe was going to be more help than she was, but she’s weak and I don’t think she’s going to survive long in the next book. My money is on her biting it in the battle against Richter.
My feelings for Matthew are more torn than ever after this book. He spent the entire time in Arcana “breaking her smile” but yet sent Death a vision of her dying in icy waters to spur him to go save her. I can’t help but wonder if it was to save Evie or Death? But it could also have been him trying to break her smile again, since every time she is with the two men in her life, she is torn in half and broken. Like I said, I’m torn. He even talked to her at the end to let her know what all was converging towards her. Yes, the end of this game is nigh and it’s not going to be a happy ending.
I honestly don’t think I want the games to end. I used to, but that would complicate so much. All the cards, Minors, and Tarasova’s believe that the game will end the same as it always does: with one card standing. I do believe the Gods will show up in some form in the next book. The union between Death and the Empress definitely pissed them off enough to send giant hail raining down. The weather A.F. is sketchy at best but it still doesn’t behave like that.
When Death finally rode out of Paul’s influence to take Evie’s icon for himself, I was so relieved he made it in time. There would be nothing worse than having to watch Jack die for a third time. Ol’ Jack really does cheat Death. I couldn’t blame Evie for not wanting to trust him but I was happy Jack wasn’t dumb enough to take the chances of Circe saving them to take the fall. We all know how it would’ve ended.
Once Aric got out from under Paul’s influence, I hurt for the guy. Like so, so bad. I knew if he could ever get out from underneath the brainwash, he wouldn’t ever be the same. He feels so strongly that this would be something to crush him. And it crushed him so much that he rode his horse to death. RIP Thanatos. But I will say, I love Petty Evie. Everything her and Jack told Death made me hurt for him more but I also loved that she was dealing it back. He hurt her and even though he didn’t have any control over it, I also would’ve wanted to get the words out and let them know how much it hurt. Especially since while he was under the influence, all the times she said he hurt her it didn’t affect him one bit.
When Evie took out the Lorraine and her suit of Minors, I was so hopeful that the Red Witch would stick. But I was so excited that she gave herself over. Though I was concerned for Tee that he would be lost. I may not like pregnancy plot twists but I hate miscarriage twists to correct what had been done. For me, there’s no winning with any of this. I’m trying to accept this.
But when Evie and “Death” walked back to Castle Lethe to take down Paul, I hoped to god that their plan would work. I hated that Kresley Cole pulled a fast one and let me believe that Death willingly walked into the bubble again and killed Jack. I was afraid Jack was willing to do most anything. But thank god that Death was Jack and they were there to serve justice. The plan seemed like it wasn’t going to work so many times, but thankfully it did and Evie gave herself over to the Red Witch…almost forever. I hoped it was forever because that would’ve been the best of endings for this book to lead into the final one. But Jack brought Evie back from the brink and she realized what had happened.
The ending, for me, was the worst part of the book. It didn’t offer much that was new and it didn’t leave off in Cole’s signature cliffhanger. The second Jack truly came back and Death was no longer brainwashed we were back to our love triangle problems of Dead of Winter. I thought after Arcana that was in the past, but of course it isn’t why would it be we are still dealing with this. I just want her to choose Jack because I know if the game can’t be stopped, one or both will die. Again, the baby twist complicates everything. There better be a damn good reason for it that wasn’t just being immune to Paul. I always knew Jack would be the first to leave. He already made sure that he would step down out of the picture in the last book. Jack would never stand between Aric and his child. Although the farewells were sad, I knew it was coming. I hoped both would stick around but no longer could they all be together. She had promised both a lifetime and she can’t keep both promises at once. I hope we are done with this love triangle-thing soon. Between the action, Evie wallows about her love life and I just need her to commit to one over the other. Regardless if she stayed with Aric or not, she still didn’t choose. She is giving Aric another chance and telling Jack one day. Because they both know both Evie and Aric aren’t coming out of the game alive.
Personally, I think it’s only fair if Death dies. I don’t hate him to where I want him to die, but the guy has had two millennia of heartbreak and sorrow. He deserves a reset and to start anew in the next game. Truly, I only want to see him happy and it won’t happen while he’s alive and Evie continues to pine for Jack even though she loves Aric as much.
Gabriel said he felt the game coming to an end and Matthew told Evie that Minors and the Gods were coming for her so we truly are coming to the final of this series. I am sad that it’s getting close to ending but by the time we get the book in 2019 (if we’re lucky) that’s 7-8 years that this series has been going on. It is time and these books have been one heck of a ride and I’m so happy I picked it up.
I’ll always love Jack and hope he gets nothing but the happiness he deserves.
I can’t wait for the next one and I hope we get to Sol in person again. He is one of the best characters and I wish he showed up sooner. He and Finn would’ve been good friends 😦